Home For The Holidays In Fernandina Beach

As night falls on Fernandina, experience the glow of the downtown historic district.

Downtown Fernandina Christmas Lights

Downtown Fernandina Beach is twinkling with its traditional Christmas glow this 2020 holiday season. Lights cover trees and outline buildings within the heart of Fernandina’s historic district around Centre Street.

Always a cozy, enchanting scene to lift spirits, some extra lighting was added this season, expanding the decorated area downtown. Pictured below is Fernandina’s Victorian-era courthouse, circa 1891 (across the street from the Lesesne House).

Fernandina's Victorian-era courthouse, circa 1891, 416 Centre Street. Amelia Island Living magazine.
Fernandina’s Victorian-era courthouse, circa 1891.

At the foot of Centre Street (corner of Front Street along the railroad tracks), Fernandina’s Old Train Depot, circa 1899, is utilized as downtown’s Visitor Welcome Center.

Old train depot, Fernandina, circa 1899. Photo by Amelia Island Living magazine.
Fernandina’s Old Train Depot, Circa 1899, Centre Street
Red Mailbox For Letters To Santa

Stationed by Fernandina’s Old Train Depot downtown, is the big red mailbox for letters to Santa Claus at the North Pole.

Fernandina Beach red mailbox for letters to Santa Claus at North Pole.
Mailbox For Santa Letters, Old Train Depot
Christmas Wish Tree

Located in the pocket park next to Amelia Island Coffee on Centre Street is Fernandina’s “Christmas Wish Tree,” donated by Westrock. Pick up Christmas Wish tag (complimentary at the Old Train Depot), write your wish, then hang it on the tree.

City’s Traditional Christmas Tree

The city has placed its Christmas tree at the usual spot near Brett’s Waterway Cafe by the marina. (Pictured below, the evening glow on Fernandina’s familiar face, pirate “Peg Leg Pete”.) Take a leisurely walk along the riverfront near daytime’s end to catch a beautiful sunset along the marina. Then, as night falls on Fernandina, experience the glow of the downtown historic district.

Pirate Peg Leg Pete watches over downtown Fernandina Beach. Amelia Island Living magazine.
Peg Leg Pete Watches Over Downtown Fernandina

Also walk or drive along a few side streets downtown to glimpse an array of charming, Victorian-era homes decorated for Christmas. Some favorites to see are the historic inns, such as the Fairbanks House.

Jolliest Lane On Island

There’s also a jolly Christmas display that illuminates one lane off Citrona Avenue. Located about a half mile north of Fernandina’s YMCA, turn onto North Ridge Lane for an enchanting, slow pass through. The property owners of North Ridge have presented their long-running Christmas decoration extravaganza for more than two decades on Amelia Island. Delighting locals, it’s perfect holiday stop, especially for families with young kids. Kudos to these folks for hosting this display, their hard work putting up, and taking down all those lights and decorations.

Going to see Christmas lights is time-honored tradition. Whether you’re a longtime resident of Fernandina, or transplant from elsewhere in the USA, most have climbed into the car or taken a walk to see Christmas lights with their parents. Whether that was 20 years ago, or 50+ years ago, it’s one of those childhood experiences that is not soon forgotten.

“I’ll Be Home For Christmas”

The classic holiday song title dating back to the World War II era, “I’ll be home for Christmas,” takes on a whole new meaning this year in 2020. Many more than usual may opt to stay home as people here and around the world adjust to the first pandemic Christmastime in a century.

Oak Tree, Centre Street, Fernandina Beach at Christmastime, December 2020. Photo by Amelia Island Living magazine.
Historic District, Fernandina Oak Tree, Centre Street

The New Year’s Eve Shrimp Drop 2020 celebration in downtown Fernandina Beach will not take place this year. Normally presented by non-profit organization, “Light Up Amelia,” they had planned the year-end fireworks to be bigger and better than ever.

“Goodbye & Good Riddance!”

However, in mid-November, city commissioners decided to wipe the holiday event calendar clean for the remainder of 2020 to control crowds from gathering downtown. The canceled New Year’s eve celebration had been dubbed the “Goodbye and Good Riddance 2020 Shrimp Drop Extravaganza.”

Nevertheless, the sentiment “Goodbye and Good Riddance 2020” certainly still rings true. It’s a fitting toast we can all raise our glasses to this New Year’s Eve — whether toasting from home on the couch or elsewhere.

Optimism As Year Ends

This historic, challenging year is ending on a brighter note than many expected. We can marvel at the “warp speed” development, in under a year, of two vaccines with astonishingly high efficacy — 94%-plus. This recent vaccine news was a revelation that has helped lift spirits around the globe.

Let’s say farewell to this unprecedented year in all our lives and look forward with optimism to the New Year. Best wishes to all for a happier, healthier, safer and prosperous 2021!